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Center for Action and Contemplation
A Prayerful Rhythm of Life
A Prayerful Rhythm of Life

A Prayerful Rhythm of Life: Weekly Summary 

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Sunday
We cannot grow in the great art form, the integrative dance of action and contemplation, without a strong tolerance for ambiguity, an ability to allow, forgive, and contain a certain degree of anxiety, and a willingness to not know—and not even need to know. 
—Richard Rohr 

Monday 
Silence is somehow at the very foundation of all reality. It is that out of which all being comes and to which all things return.  
—Richard Rohr 

Tuesday 
A monastic rule of life can help us learn what it means to live so that we are attuned to God in our everything. A life that does more than pray sporadically, but is itself a prayer to God.  
—Ken Shigematsu 

Wednesday 
The spiritual journey begins with a pause, a centering-in-God pause, and over time becomes a constant and ceaseless prayer, an honoring of and a connection with the Divine in you that awakens your essential self. 
—Caroline Oakes 

Thursday 
When ritual comes as an invitation, a choice to engage or not engage, limits are expanded because freedom is present. And from this place, where ritual meets freedom, our relationship to self, others, and the Divine can be continually deepened.  
—Cassidy Hall 

Friday 
The contemplative, nondual mind is not saying, “Everything is beautiful,” even when it’s not. However, we may come to “Everything is still beautiful” by contemplatively facing the conflict between how reality is and how we wish it could be. 
—Richard Rohr 

Week Twenty-Seven Practice 
Imagine Something Better 

Author Sarah Bessey names the need to be “for” something good, not merely “against” what is wrong: 

Imagining and contending for what you hope for in this world is one of the hardest and kindest paths I’ve discovered out here. In the midst of all this, don’t forget to imagine something better. Don’t forget to dream of what could be possible. And don’t forget to live into those hopes with faithfulness. Move in that direction, especially when all you know is “not this.”  

If it helps, sometimes I’ve thought of this as the rhythm of turning away and then turning toward, almost like a beautiful dance…. We turn away from those things we’re against and toward the hopeful future we imagine. In a purposeful movement, we turn away from the practices or beliefs or habits that consume us, threaten us, reduce us, and distract us. And then we turn toward what brings flourishing, goodness, and truth to us. Turn away, yes, and turn toward…. What we turn toward should reorient us to the world in a posture of love, joy, and service.  

It can be a simple rhythm to begin with. Turning away from spaces in social media that have become toxic for you and turning toward inviting a lonely neighbor over for tea. Turning away from voices that bring shame and guilt to you or others and turning toward voices that preach freedom and wholeness and love. Or turning away from shrinking back and shutting up to keep the peace; turning toward owning your voice, your body, your experiences with boldness. Turning away from gossip and petty nitpicking; turning toward language of blessing….  

Begin with Against, and keep going until you find your For. It’s an act of defiant faith. It will give you something to lean into. It will give you a path to follow.  

Reference: 
Sarah Bessey, Field Notes for the Wilderness: Practices for an Evolving Faith (New York: Convergent Books, 2024), 171, 173–174. 

Image credit and inspiration: Jenna Keiper, windows + sky fire (detail), 2020, photo, Albuquerque. Click here to enlarge image. Like these everyday windows at sunset, it’s possible to create conditions that reflect the beauty of Spirit in our very normal, everyday lives. 

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